The best way to increase revenue is by boosting occupancy. But what are some alternative ways to make money at your campground?
We connected with a number of campgrounds to find that there’s actually a fair amount of ways to monetize your property from amenities to experiences offered.
Here are 12 creative ways to diversify your income and make more money at your RV park.
How to Make a Little Extra Money at Your RV Park
1. Vending Machines
According to Small Business Trends, on average, a single vending machine earns $76 a week, or over $300 a month. Just Business says that a vending machine is about a $2,000 investment, so your machine will pay for itself within a year.
While this won’t make you a ton of money, it’s a fairly easy income stream to add to your park, especially if placed strategically like near a pool.
For one campground owner, he made more profit on laundry than he did from his campsites! That’s because he was the only laundromat around and offered multiple machines for guests and local residents to use.
He said after multiple calls to repairmen, he learned how to fix the units himself, making even more profit from this expected RV park amenity.
Creating a pleasant experience around laundry could be a small but simple way to add value to a guests’ experience. Consider adding another set of machines or offering a small table or countertop for folding clothes. Since most campgrounds charge between $1 to $2.50 per load (Go Downsize), you’ll earn your money back relatively quickly.
3. Pool pass
If you have a pool, consider offsetting some of your property costs by opening it up to the local community or friends visiting campers. For example, Jackson Lake Lodge lets guests swim for free, and sells community passes for $5 a day, or $50 a season.
Make a little MORE money at your RV Park
4. Restaurants and food trucks
Restaurants or concession stands are a great way to add local flare to your park. Not only can it be an added element of hospitality for guests, but if you open it up and advertise it to the community, it could be an additional marketing tool for your park.
More and more parks are adopting new options when it comes to dining. Foodtruckoperator.com says that even the federal government “is looking to modernize campgrounds at national parks, and is considering allowing the private sector to run the parks to free up park staff for other tasks.”
Keep in mind, though, that running a restaurant in conjunction with your campground is extra work. So, if you’re looking for an easier starting point, food trucks have relatively simple permits and can be an easy way to partner with a local vendor to split profits.
5. A good camp store
Retired camping and outdoor industry expert, Gary Forster says that “There are many reasons to have a [camp] store. The first is people expect it.”
Whether it’s a quick bite, laundry detergent, firewood, or even RV parts like water or sewer hoses, keeping a few essentials on hand goes a long way.
We’ve also received a lot of feedback from RV parks saying they’ve had a fair amount of success selling branded materials and products from local artists or businesses that reflect the local community. Specifically, T-shirts and camping mugs are a couple of the top sellers. You may even offer produce, pictured above, as part of a small farmer’s market.
Despite the pandemic, there are still plenty of low-cost and profitable events campgrounds can offer to create a memorable experience.
- Grilling or cook-off competitions (where people pay to enter and taste the food)
- Outdoor movie nights (with proper licensing, which you can find help with by joining a campground association)
- Fall festival complete with a carnival and hayrides
- Tournaments for youth sports
- Crafts (especially for kids)
- A trail of lights during the holiday season
There are plenty of potential guests who may not be as familiar with camping, but would be willing to try it out if you provide the right opportunities to connect with your park
For more ideas, RVShare has a list of over 80 activities campgrounds can offer.
If you’re looking to add immediate value to your campground, start with quality wireless internet. Even if want guests to unplug and experience nature, guests will still require access to WiFi.
BusinessInsider quoted a recent study from RVshare, stating that millennials are 73% more likely to find themselves taking a trip and, subsequentially, working from an RV this year.
That being said, while providing decent WiFi is a must, you can potentially even profit off a high-speed solution. A 2018 poll from RV Travel said that 66% of guests would be willing to pay a daily rate for faster internet. And it’s likely this number will only go up as more and more millennials become full-time RVers, it is likely that paying extra for premium service will be expected.
Make passive and profitable returns at your RV Park
While rentals generally come with high startup costs, they can also bring in high margins. Consider implementing any of these items:
- Dune buggies
- Mountain bikes
- Pool items (floaties, toys, life jackets, etc)
The biggest considerations with rentals are your insurance policy and repairs, which can add to your parks expenses.
We have a number of campgrounds that offer more than just camping.
Here are a few creative ways campgrounds have used their space:
- Brewery or Distillery (Devils Backbone)
- Wedding venue (The Hitchin’ Post)
- Zoo/Wildlife Rescue (Discovery Wildlife Park)
- Kayaking/Canoeing (Berry Bridge and Penbrook)
10. Partner with local tourism companies and restaurants
Partnering with local businesses is a great way to make commissions and passive income for your campground. See if any local tourist attractions will give your campers discounts for visiting or if they will give you a referral credit for sending campers their way.
11. Event rentals
Especially during shoulder seasons, find imaginative ways to take advantage of potential event space. Consider renting out your clubhouse, pavilions, etc for:
- Reunions and get-togethers
- Corporate retreats
- Kids camps and field trips
- Conventions and conference
12. Yield management
One of the resources that Campground Booking provides its parks is yield management (or dynamic pricing).
This allows campgrounds to accommodate guests during both peak and shoulder seasons. A camper can go online, get a quote, and make a reservation without you having to get involved.
On average, our campgrounds have saved 300 hours of administrative work annually through dynamic pricing and online reservations.
Putting it Together
Finding creative ways to make money at your RV park doesn’t have to be an overwhelming effort. Consider your campground and what you could realistically implement without draining your resources.
- Make a little money by adding vending machines, laundry services, and pool passes.
- Make a little more money by offering restaurants or food trucks, a well-stocked camp store, interactive events, and quality WiFi.
- Make passive and profitable income by offering rentals, unique experiences (weddings, wildlife, breweries, etc), partnering with local businesses, event rentals, and yield management.
Online reservations are one of the easiest ways to bring income to your campground. Campground Booking brings RV parks a 25% increase in reservation volume. Request a demo today!